History of King Herod: Why was he called Great?

History of Herod the KingHISTORY OF HEROD THE KING

The Wise men asked Herod the King:

“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?”

While this seems an unlikely question to ask a client king of the great Roman Empire, they were not asking in a complete vacuum.

Historical Context

The Roman historian Suetonius, who lived in the late 1st and early 2nd century, had written:

“There had spread over all the East an old and established belief, that it was fated at the time for men coming from Judea to rule the world.”

The Roman senator and historian Tacitus who lived at the same time wrote:

“There was a firm persuasion that at this very time the east was to grow powerful and rulers coming from Judea were to acquire a universal empire.”

The Jewish-Roman historian Josephus writes in his Jewish Wars that the Jews believed that one from their country would soon become ruler of the habitable world.

Jewish Ruler

However, the Wise Men were asking the currently ruling King of the Jews where the king of the Jews was, perhaps unwisely, and no doubt Herod inferred this as an accusation that he was an imposter. Herod had been particularly paranoid at this time and mistrusted all those around him as contenders for the tenuously held throne.

Instead of imprisoning these Magi for their impudence, he perceptively endeavored to determine how he could get from them any intelligence so he could to eliminate this potential rival. With what he learned from them about the appearance of the Star, as well as what his own scholars gleaned from the Biblical prophecies, Herod determined that this “king of the Jews” was no more than two years of age and living in the nearby town of Bethlehem, the City of David, just 6 miles away.

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History of A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown ChristmasHISTORY OF A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered on CBS TV as a 30-minute animated Christmas special written by Charles M. Schultz, creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. The comic was hugely popular at the time when the TV special debuted on December 9, 1965.

Though this was not Shultz’ first TV special — that would be 1963’s A Boy Named Charlie Brown — nor the last, it would become the most enduring. It is a staple of holiday viewing today, and Christmas is not complete without gathering the family and friends around the TV to watch it.

San Francisco Bay Area musician Vince Guaraldi, known at the time for his hit “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” provided what was then an unusually melancholy jazz soundtrack along with traditional and classical music for the special. Along with producer Lee Mendelson, it took Schultz a day to outline the story for the sponsor Coca-Cola, weeks to write it, but 6 months to film.

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History of the 12 Days of Christmas: They’re after Christmas?

12 Days of ChristmasTHE HISTORY OF THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the dozen days in the liturgical calendar of the Western Church between the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child (Christmas Day, December 25) and the coming of the Wise Men, or Magi, to visit at his house in Bethlehem (Epiphany, January 6). The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates during Epiphany rather than Christmas Day. In Hispanic and Latin American culture, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the “Day of the Kings.”

Question 1

Aren’t the Twelve Days of Christmas the days before Christmas, when you shop for presents?

Epiphany

Answer: No, the four-week season before Christmas is called Advent, meaning “the coming” of Christ. The dozen days following Christmas are the Twelve Days of Christmas, sometimes known as Twelfth Night. The Twelfth Night is the holiday which marks the twelfth night of the Christmas Season, the Eve of Epiphany. During the Tudor period in England, the Lord of Misrule would run the festivities of Christmas, ending on this Twelfth Night. Shakespeare‘s play by the same name was intended to be performed as a Twelfth Night entertainment and was first performed during this time in 1602.

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History of Mistletoe: Why is it the Kissing plant?

MistletoeHISTORY OF MISTLETOE

We’ve mentioned previously that mistletoe was prominent in the traditions of the Druids and the lore of northern Europe. The Druids used the mistletoe of their sacred oak as part of their ritual five days after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. In the Middle Ages, it was hung from ceilings or placed above stable and house doors to drive off evil spirits and to ensure fertility.

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on trees. Phoradendron flavescens or Viscum album sends its roots into the tree’s bark and derives its nutrients from the tree itself, though it does engage in photosynthesis.

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History of Santa Claus: Saint or Elf?

St NicholasHISTORY OF SANTA CLAUS

December 6 is Saint Nicholas Day.” The name Santa Claus is a kind of a contraction for Saint Nicholas, the German name Sankt Nikolaus can be pronounced San’t(a) ni-KLOuse (sounding like house.)

Origin

He was born in the 3rd century, perhaps in A.D. 270. He became a bishop in Greece and gained distinction in the councils of the church. He was especially famed for unexpected gifts and later associated with the giving of presents during the season at the end of the year. “I am Nicholas, a sinner,” the old saint would say, “Nicholas, servant of Christ Jesus.” He was imprisoned during the great persecutions under the Roman Emperor Diocletian in A.D. 303 but freed by decree of Emperor Constantine. After that, he served as Bishop in Myra for another thirty years. Nicholas participated in the famous church Council of Nicaea in 325. He died on December 6, about 343, and the Feast of St. Nicholas is now held on that day.

Many stories are told of his kindness, such as the one of the poor man and his three daughters. To save the girls from being sold into prostitution for want of dowries, St. Nicholas dropped a bag full of gold down the man’s chimney. It landed in one of the stockings the eldest daughter had hung up to dry. Now she could be married. The other two daughters quickly hung up stockings for St. Nicholas to fill with gold, so that they, too, could soon be married. By the way, the three gold globes of the pawn shop are attributed to this story.

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